John Metcalf

Captain John Savile Metcalf, with Dora Metcalf and Mary Metcalf, August 1935
John, with Dora R and his sister Mary L and best man (unknown) on his wedding day, August 1935

Captain John Metcalf DSC RD (1895-1975) born in Yorkshire, the son of a publican, educated at Carlisle Grammar. He joined the Runciman Line on leaving school and became a Midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve in 1914. He was at Gallipoli in April 1915 and had earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery there. During the battle he received a severe injury to his right forearm which ironically saved his life. While he was in hospital in Egypt his ship, HMS Triumph, was torpedoed and sunk, with much loss of life. He was at the battle of Jutland in 1916 on board a destroyer, HMS Faulknor.

His First World War service ended with him receiving glowing reviews and recommendation for promotion but the pay was better in the merchant navy and he joined the Orient Line, while maintaining his links with the Royal Naval Reserve, keeping up his naval training and moving up the officer ranks, earning promotion to Commander in 1934. He and Dora married in 1935. In late 1940, having being appointed to the command of the Orient Line’s repurposed Ormonde, he used the ship to help evacuate the British troops at Narvik and St. Nazaire. Due to his skilful manoeuvring, he avoided the bombers that had targeted the ship and returned the troops safely to England. He was Commodore of East Coast and Atlantic Convoys  from 1941-43 and then Captained HMS Ranee, an aircraft carrier, in 1943-44. In 1945 he was posted to the Far East on HMS Guardian. See this biography for more details of John’s naval career.  

Post-war he was demobbed and joined BTM as Personnel Manager, before retiring in 1962. His father, known as Pop, spent his later years with John’s sister Mary, a district nurse and midwife at Church Fenton, North Yorkshire. A stained glass window in the village church, commissioned by Mary and designed by architect Ronald Sims, commemorates John’s life.

stained glass window at Church Fenton, commemorating Captain John Metcalf.
Stained Glass window in Church Fenton, North Yorkshire
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